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Monday, September 3, 2007

Children of Hurin

I finally finished reading Children of Hurin this evening. Wow. If you're a Tolkien fan, I would have to say you can't pass this one up. I read the Silmarillian a while ago, but don't recall this story specifically. This book, released back in May or so (I ordered it relatively soon after release) is a more complete telling of the tale of the tragic life of mostly Turin, son of Hurin, a lord of Dor-lomin, tucked in the north-west of the land of Beleriand, which is west of the Grey Havens (where the Elves of the fourth age travel to leave the land of Middle-Earth of The Lord of the Rings tale***). Anyway, the story. Hurin is captured by Morgoth and tale is that he's kept alive, but that his kin will be forever cursed. Oh boy, he's not kidding. One of my "labels" for this blog is "Murphy's Law" because that's a great label for much of my life... stuff just always goes wrong. Enter Turin and I have found kin of the misfortuned like rarely before. That said, you might find yourself wondering if you love Turin or hate Turin. I did. I felt it all. The book follows him from childhood, being hidden from his homeland in the hidden city of Elves (in case you didn't know, the Elves aren't particularly loving toward men) into adulthood and being a leader in all ways. Turin is a brat, a hero, a whiner, a leader, a master, an ill-omen - he covers the full range of why Elfkind doesn't trust mankind.

A serious tragic twist happens later that even caused me to drop my jaw (though I wasn't really shocked, half expecting it about half a chapter or more earlier) and say "holy crap". There were a few parts of this story that made me smile, but mostly it was sad and left me feeling loss. I loved it.

I would say it's a relatively short book, but since I'm a slow reader, it was long enough. I bet an average reader could finish this in a few sittings. It was written in a way that was easier to read than Silmarillion, but was still written much like JRRT's other books, with strange linguistic wording and descriptions, but that's part of what I've always liked about reading Tolkien. It does make me want to pull out Silmarillion again and do a re-read, but I still have The Lord of the Rings sitting with a bookmark waiting for another re-read, along with other books. We'll see about that. For now, it's just another thing to invigorate my want to get back to playing Lord of the Rings Online (I have a lifetime subscription to the game, so referral payoffs don't benefit me, but you could contact me if you know me and if you hook up through my referral, their site says you can get in on the same founder pricing options I had, $199 lifetime or $9.99/month).

***Update: 9/6/7: Um, yeah, I felt a little uncertain and stupid when I posted some info above (the ***). I was uncertain about the compared location of Beleriand versus "Middle-earth" as we know them from tLotR. So, being the slight perfectionist I am, and not wanting to look stupid, I did some research. See, I've read the Silmarillion, but it's been a while, and apparently many people are confused about this, so on The Encyclopedia of Arda site, specifically Where in Middle-earth was Beleriand? they have the answer... though you still need to sorta figure more out. I actually had to pull out my Silmarillion book (1st American Edition/printing) with its large map in the back to compare thing. The end result, Beleriand was mostly destroyed, or more it's west coast in "The War"... thanks Morgoth. So an eastern mountain border of Beleriand is now the western most mountain range in Middle-earth (Ered Luin), but the Third Age. I'd need to refresh my memory (or ask a Tolkien expert friend of mine) where exactly the Elves (and Bilbo, Gandalf and Frodo end going) leave for specifically when they leave the Grey Havens. This is why these books warrant re-reads. So much information. I love it.

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